Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Name Fame

Cathy Burgess
Bay District Schools


In this lesson, students learn the uniqueness of their names by reading the book, [Chrysanthemum], and completing other integrated math counting and graphing activities.


The student knows how to use positive communication skills when expressing needs, wants, and feelings.

The student uses prior knowledge, illustrations, and text to make predictions.

The student writes informal texts (for example, journal entries, reading response).

The student uses one-to one correspondence to count objects to 100 or more.

The student records data using concrete materials or pictures.

The student organizes information into a simple pictograph or concrete graph.

The student uses mathematical language to read and interpret data on a simple concrete graph, pictorial graph, or chart.


-Suggested book, [Chrysanthemum] by Kevin Henkes, Mulberry Books, 1996 (or other similar book about how special names can be)
-Name Fame activity sheet (one for each student, see associated file)
-Scissors (one for each student)
-Large piece of bulletin board paper for Our Name Graph
-"Everybody Has a Name" poem (see Weblinks)
-Chart paper
-Colored Markers to make the graph
-Writing journal
-Graph from newspaper or magazine
-Bear stickers


1. Download poem "Everybody Has A Name." (see Weblinks)
2. Write the "Everybody Has A Name" poem on chart paper with markers and have it assessible during circle time.
3. Make the Our Name Graph out of bulletin board paper. Use the colored markers.
4. Have [Chrysanthemum] ready to read. Mark pages 6, 18, and 29 for ease when doing the picture walk and predictions.
5. Make sure all students have a writing journal, scissors and pencils.
6. You need a graph from a newspaper of magazine.


Note: The journal activites should reflect beginning of the year writing done by first grade students. Remember the standard states informal writing. At this time of the year, the purpose is to get students in the habit of writing and to enjoy it!

Day 3, Lesson 2 of All About Me unit. Check to see which students are using their manners waiting turns, raising hands to speak, etc., as you begin this lesson. Make specific remarks like: I like the way ____ is holding up her hand. Wow! What good manners ___ has! I heard him/her say “Excuse me.” Checking for manners and giving positive feedback about behavior should be ingrained into every lesson. Ask students to tell you good manners they have observed. Give bear stickers for those showing “beary” good manners.

1. Call students to carpet for circle time. Ask: Have you ever thought about your name? How were you named? Is there an interesting story about how you got your name? (I always tell the story of how I got my name.) Listen to one or two students tell their name story. If students do not know how they got their names, encourage them find out. Introduce the poem, "Everybody Has a Name." Read it first to the students pointing to the words as you go. Then repeat it several times until students become familiar with it.

2. Now show the cover of the book, [Chrysanthemum]. Ask students to predict what they think this story will be about. Predict means to guess.

a. Do a picture walk, but pause on the following pages to ask specific questions.

b. On page 6, ask: What is the mouse doing here? How is she feeling?

c. On page 8, ask: Where this mouse is now? (They should say school) How do you know? (checking for background knowledge)

d. On page 18, say: Look at the mouse. How is she feeling?

e. On page 29, say: Look at the mouse now. Is she feeling happy? How do you know?

f. Tell students: Let’s read the story to see if we are correct.

Formatively assess students. Criteria is available in the assessment section.

3. Read the story. Talk about Chrysanthemum’s name and how she felt at different times in the story. Ask: Were our predictions correct? Do you think Chrysanthemum’s classmates were using good manners when they made fun of her name? What would you have done if you were in her class and the other students were doing that? Ask: Do you think Chrysanthemum’s name is special? What about your own name? How do you feel about your own name?

4. Now say: Let’s find out more about our names, like who has the longest or shortest name. Ask: How could we do that? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Explain: We will graph them. Graphs help us communicate information visually or with our eyes. It is an easy way to understand information. (Show a graph from a newspaper or magazine and talk about the meaning). First we have to gather the information. Give each child the Name Fame Activity Sheet and a pair of scissors. Tell them to print the letters of their first names in each of the squares and then cut them apart. Have them count out how many letters are in their names. (Check for 1-to-1 correspondence.) Formatively assess students. Criteria is available in the assessment section.

5. Next tell students they have to take the information on how many letters are in their names and organize it into the class information.

a. Graph the information on the Our Name Graph by asking how many students have names with 3 letters, 4 letters, 5 letters, and so on until each child’s name is accounted for and recorded on the graph.

b. State outloud what you are doing as you do it. Color a square on the graph for each name that has the same number of letters.

c. Summarize what students have done and interpret the graph results by using a language experience approach at the bottom of the graph. For example: Today we graphed the letters in our names. We found out __ has the longest name and ____ has the shortest name. There are ___people with 5 letters in their name. The most interesting thing about this graphing activity is________________. Formatively assess students. Criteria is available in the assessment section.

6. After the graphing activity is done, have students get in the group of students with the same number of letters in their names. Have them combine all the letters of their names they cut and place them into a pile and count how many their group has. (You may have to do some creative grouping for those who stand alone.) Each child should have a chance to count out the letters. Formatively assess students. Criteria is available in the assessment section.

7. While students are waiting to count all the letters of the names of the students in their group from the activity in number 6, have those students who are waiting make a journal writing entry with something about their names. Instruct them to open their journals to a new page, put today’s date at the top, and write something about their names. Depending on the time of year and the writing ability of your students, it may be a good idea to give students a sentence starter like: I like my name because__________________. (or) I don’t like my name because________________________. (or) I wish my name was_________.

8. If time allows, have students share their journal entries about their names by standing beside their desks and reading what they wrote.


A formative assessment takes place by observing students using prior knowledge, illustrations, and text to make predictions in procedure #2. Specifically look for explanations of the pictures and correct use of prior knowledge as it pertains to this story. (Off the wall predictions that don’t make sense should be a red flag that those students need more help)

A formative assessment takes place as the teacher observes how the student uses one-to-one correspondence to count objects to 100 or more. Specifically look for each student counting out the letters in his/her name in procedure #4. Also look for 1-to-1 correspondences in the group name counting in procedure #6.

A formative assessment in the form of an observation will take place while the students record data using concrete materials or pictures and how students organize information into a simple pictograph or concrete graph during the procedures #4 and #5. Specifically look for students actively participating in the recording of the data on the class graph using the letters in their names, and that they are on task and correctly helping the teacher organize the information.

A formative assessment on how the student uses mathematical language to read and interpret data on a simple concrete graph, pictorial graph, or chart during the group takes place during procedure #5. Specifically check for correct oral statements from students. For example: ____ has the most letters in his/her name or ____ is the only person in the class who has 10 letters in his/her name or ____ has the shortest name.

A formative assessment is made on how students use positive communication skills when expressing needs, wants, and feelings by observing student statements from the beginning of the procedures like:
a. I saw Jody raising her hand.
b. Michael quietly slipped into the bathroom and got back in the circle without disturbing anyone.
c. Billy was touching someone, but then thought about it and is doing a good job of keeping his hands to himself.

A formative assessment takes place in the form of teacher observation when students write in their journals about their names. Specifically look for what students like or don't like about their names.


1. Special Student of the Day: Put each child’s name on an index card and put it in a bag. Choose two names each day so this activity goes faster and each child has been interviewed by open house and their parents can see their interviews. Do one in the morning at circle time and one in the afternoon. The first child’s name that is chosen should sit in the special chair to be interviewed. The rest of the class will be reporters who try to find out what that child likes to eat, his favorite color, activity, or toy etc. by asking questions. Record this on a chart paper in about five sentences. You should limit the number of questions asked for time's sake.

2. During center time, the Special Student of the Day should add a self-portrait to the interview page.

3. After the interview is over, have the class cheer his/her name:
Give me an R (students chant back ‘R’)
Give me an E (E),
Give me a B (B),
Give me an E (E),
Give me a C (C),
Give me another C (C),
Give me an A (A),
What’s that spell? (Rebecca)
Who’s our special student of the day? (Rebecca)

4. Then tell students we are going to add her name to the word wall. Ask: What letter does Rebecca start with? Yes, it is R, so with tape have Rebecca go over to the word wall and put her name under the R.

5. Keep each child’s interview on a chart tablet. The second activity (Shared Reading) could take place later in the day or another day. Lead the students to read it chorally several times and let volunteers come and read each sentence. Guide their hands so that they are tracking print as they read. Many teachers also type the chart after all the children have had their special day. I take pictures of the students with a digital camera to go along with the interview. We title the book [Meet The Class]. Then each child has a chance to take the book home one night so that the family can get to know the whole class. It is also available during open house for parents to see.

6. More ideas related to this activity can be found in [Month-By-Month Phonics for First Grade] by Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy P. Hall.

7. Music: Sing the song "What Is Your Name?" From the Hap Palmer CD [Learning Basic Skills Through Music], Hap-Pal Music, Inc.

8. Add "Everybody Has a Name" to a poetry notebook that can be taken home and read again with parents. This makes good reading practice.

9. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

This site is a search of all public school media centers for specific books and media materials. Use this site to locate the materials needed for this lesson.

Teacher information on graphing can be found at here.

Teacher information on graphing can be found here.

Attached Files

The Name Fame Activity sheet and an example of Our Name Graph.     File Extension: pdf

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